I know many of you have already started or are thinking about starting your Holiday baking. It’s a good time to check the expiration dates or test some of your baking supplies to make sure they are still potent and will give you the desired results in your final baked products. Three that are important to check are baking soda, baking powder, and yeast.
Baking soda should be good about 6 months for best quality. To test yours, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 3 tablespoons of vinegar. If the mixture bubbles it is still potent enough to use. There is no need to discard expired baking soda as it has many uses for cleaning purposes.
Baking powder also should be good about 6 months after opening for best quality. It will not spoil but again will not perform as expected if it is old. Baking powder is a combination of baking soda and cream tartar with some cornstarch added in to prevent an immediate reaction. Baking powder is double acting. It reacts first when combined with a liquid then again with heat. To test baking powder for potency, add 1 teaspoon to 1/3 cup hot water. If the mixture bubbles the baking powder is fresh enough to use. If not, it is time to replace it.
Yeast is fresh 3 or 4 months or until the expiration date on the package. To test your yeast for freshness, add 1 teaspoon sugar to ½ cup warm water in a one cup liquid measure. Stir in 1 envelope (2 and ¼ teaspoons) yeast. Let mixture stand 10 minutes. If the yeast foams up to the ½ cup mark, it will be effective. If you are testing an envelope of yeast right before you are ready to bake you can add this yeast mixture to your product but be sure to decrease the amount of liquid in your recipe by ½ cup.
Other baking ingredients you may want to check expiration dates on include Crisco and cake mixes. Opened Crisco should be good for about one year. The texture, color or flavor may change but in most cases it will still be safe to consume. If it develops an off odor, flavor, or appearance you need to discard it. Cake mixes should be good for 12-18 months. It is best to use them by the date on the package for peak quality.
Happy Holiday Baking!